Re: “To make modern youths tough, help them care,” (TNT, 8/31).
I was very impressed by columnist David Brooks’ comments on emotional resilience. I’d like to add some practical suggestions.
Teachers and parents can help by placing more emphasis on personal goals, values and interests. Students can feel more self-confident and make better decisions when they spend time thinking about the kind of people they want to become. Expressive writing can aid in this process. For example, one California high school assigns seniors to write essays about who they are, what they believe, and how they see their future.
Presentations by older peers and community members can help youth overcome their fear of failure. Another idea is to have students read a variety of obituaries, discuss the lives of ordinary citizens, and list their jobs, achievements, challenges and hobbies. Academic and vocational goals should not be limited by GPAs, test scores or the majors in a college catalog.
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When we envision ourselves in a positive future, we come to perceive adversity as part of life rather than a sign of inferiority or failure.